Use of Aerospace thermoplastic composite production waste

Designing new applications through reshaping of thermoplastic composite strips

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Abstract

Thermoplastic composite materials are increasingly used in aircraft construction due to their high-mechanical properties, toughness, rapid processing rates and reprocessing possibilities at their end-of-life. In the production thermoplastic composite parts, 10-40% of the material remains unused, so-called production waste. Despite being a high-performance material that can be re-processed, real-world applications of the material into structures or products are lacking. This research explores how the thermoplastic composite production waste material can be utilised by designers and engineers, by demonstrating its use in a design process of new applications. This exploration resulted in the design of a structural member, that can be tailored to a specific function, and a design of a pedestrian bridge, which aims to stimulate the creative use of the material. By evaluating the design process, a framework is proposed which engineers and designers can utilise to design new applications from composite waste material.